Premier Christy Clark and Environment Minister Mary Polak plug in an electric car at an announcement of the government's latest climate change plan in Richmond Aug. 19.

BC VIEWS: B.C. fails to save the planet

Premier Christy Clark isn't going into next year's election with a promise to jack up Canada's only significant carbon tax

A B.C. Liberal operative was out with the online spin hours before Premier Christy Clark confirmed the much-leaked news in a Friday afternoon announcement at an obscure location in Richmond.

The, er, freeze is continuing for B.C.’s ground-breaking, world-saving carbon tax, which hasn’t changed since before Clark was elected in 2013.

The spin was Olympic-themed, with a picture labeled to show B.C. as a swimmer far out in the lead in the pool, to symbolize that it’s the other provinces that need to catch up in the race to save the planet.

Clark has been saying that for years, and there is merit to it. Even without a tax on “process emissions” such as from cement kilns, B.C.’s carbon tax encourages imports of non-taxed cement from the U.S. and China.

Alberta business professor Andrew Leach, who advised the Stephen Harper and then Rachel Notley governments on greenhouse gas policies, summed up the problem this way.

“Until the rest of the world has policies that impose similar cost, you’re not actually reducing emissions to the extent you think,” Leach said. “You’re just displacing the emissions and the economic activity to other jurisdictions.”

Alberta is moving to join B.C. with a modest carbon tax, but the NDP government plans to spend the proceeds rather than return them in income tax as B.C. has done. And Washington state and most of the rest of the world have no carbon tax as such, so their businesses benefit from B.C.’s “climate leadership.”

B.C.’s foreign-funded eco-radical community was, needless to say, appalled. The Pembina Institute’s Matt Horne and career protesters Tzeporah Berman and Merran Smith were named to the premier’s advisory committee last year, along with business, academic and aboriginal representatives.

They concluded that increases to B.C.’s broad-based tax on carbon fuels should resume its upward march in 2018.

Other committee members, including the mayors of Surrey, Comox and Burns Lake, were not heard from. Public discussion on this issue is now reduced to a staged conflict between those who demand a holy war on deadly carbon dioxide “pollution,” and those who don’t care if their grandchildren perish in a hell-fire of fossil fuel use.

We’ve just come off another El Nino year, like the hot year of 1998. Regular readers will recall the last time I discussed this topic was this spring, where I questioned the premier’s dire warnings of another horrendous forest fire season.

What followed has been one of the slowest forest fire seasons in the last decade, although dry conditions have finally emerged this month. Climate predictions, like next week’s weather forecast, are less than consistent.

I am regularly sent messages calling me a “climate change denier,” the nonsense term that continues to be used by federal Environment Minister Catharine McKenna among many others. I know of no one who denies that climate is always changing, at times dramatically.

If you wish to believe that paying an extra seven cents a litre for gasoline in B.C. is helping to slow the very gradual increase in temperatures we’re seeing in the northern hemisphere, you are free to do so.

You may even be persuaded to take a government subsidy and buy an expensive, short-range electric car. Me, I’m off to Prince Rupert and Revelstoke pretty soon, so I’ll stick with my little four-cylinder gas sipper for now.

Hydro-powered B.C. represents a small fraction of the less than two per cent Canada contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions. We’re not the problem, and no, the world is not looking to us for guidance.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Forest industry supporters and convoy arrive at B.C. legislature

Rally delivers petition in favour of ‘working forests’

VIDEO: Convoy of forest industry supporters on its way to Victoria

Rally at the B.C. legislature begins with participants setting off from Campbell River

PHOTOS: Campbell River Storm fall to down-Island rival Victoria Cougars

Cougars win 6-2 and continue to lead the VIJHL as playoffs approach

Five fun things to do on Family Day in Campbell River

Outside or inside, we’ve got you covered with ideas for both

Protesters barricade Premier John Horgan’s home ahead of B.C. budget unveiling

Demonstrators from the Extinction Rebellion have blocked the Langford driveway

Budget 2020: B.C. adds tax to sweet drinks and sodas

All soda, vending machine drinks will be subject to higher PST

Budget 2020: B.C. unveils new grant for students, phases out debt-relief program

For the first time, diploma, certificate students qualify for yearly post-secondary grant

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

2020 Budget: ICBC shortfall continues ahead of new rate-reduction plan

ICBC operating with $91-million deficit for 2019-2020 fiscal year

Budget 2020: B.C. NDP taps top tax bracket for more revenue

Minimum wage set to pass $15 an hour by 2021

Budget 2020: Not much new for B.C.’s struggling forest industry

Focus on wood waste utilization, efficiency, ministry budget cut

Skull reconstruction gives new insight into unknown man found in B.C. cemetery

RCMP released a 3-D skull reconstruction of a man who was found dead on July 2, 1998

Ten poisoned eagles rushed to veterinary hospital in Nanaimo

Eagles stricken after eating flesh of euthanized animal at Nanaimo Regional Landfill

Most Read